Not all children are born with a driving urge to succeed. However, this is a virtue parents can instill in their children, especially because it’s something that children can pick up from their environment.
Excellence is an acquired skill parents can help their children develop by directly providing positive feedback and encouragement. A child who is motivated towards excellence will study more and learn to succeed in every goal they set. But there are also indirect ways to provide this motivation, and they can be even more powerful.
Set a good example
Students mimic adult behaviour, so setting an example they can benefit from is key. For example, parents who love reading, who have a keen interest in the arts and sciences, and who share and use what they read by having intellectual discussions with each other, cultivate in children a need and thirst for similar knowledge and habits.
Nurturing a love for learning can be achieved with technology, and children are almost always fascinated by technology. For instance, you can emphasize the educational role of technology by being the first to use the Web and social media for educating yourself. Playing a spelling game on a tablet or using a software application to improve vocabulary sends a clear message about the beneficial aspect of technology and the Internet. Making the computer a primary source of knowledge, something that’s used for more than just relaxing games or chatting with friends, is the first step in opening a child’s mind to the possibilities of modern technology.
By being a parent who models this motivational behavior, you help your child to pursue knowledge for knowledge’s sake and not always tie it to rewards. Using self-development software to set a good example brings the immediate reward of improved skills and knowledge for yourself – and before you know it your children will ask to use it too.
Make learning engaging
Standardized tests, dry textbook reading, and tight assignment deadlines can drive students away from learning — not because knowledge is boring but because the approach to studying is counterproductive.
The debate still continues as to whether standardized tests actually illustrate the extent of a student’s knowledge and intelligence, but since standardized tests are a part of almost every student’s life, the best you can do is make studying for them more interesting.
Educational software and mobile applications help students study without realizing it. Just consider the difference between handing a child a list of words to learn, and giving them a laptop computer that they can use to play spelling games online to improve spelling.
Learning through play lets the student engage with study material in a different way. Because the thoughts “I have to study now” and “I get to play a game now” bring a student to the process from totally separate angles, combining the two means the student gets the best of both worlds, and they will approach the task eagerly and with enthusiasm – and that’s what motivation is all about.
About the Author: Chassie Lee is the Content Expert for eReflect – creator of Ultimate Vocabulary which is currently being used by tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.